It is merger and acquisition time in the telecom tower business. Aircel Ltd, which is 74 per cent owned by Malaysian telecom giant Maxis, is set to allow four firms to conduct its due deligence for acquiring majority stake in its tower business. American Tower Company (ATC) and Bharti Infratel are among companies that have submitted financial bids.
Aircel owns about 12,000 towers and sources said the companies have submitted bids ranging from $1 billion and $1.6 billion. Standard Chartered, Nomura and Rothschild are advising Aircel on the deal.
Reliance Infra, GTL and Tata-Quippo are among other companies, which have shown interest in Aircel.
Maxis would hive off its tower business from its cellular mobile service companies and sell majority stake in the company. Earlier, ATC made its presence felt in India by acquiring the operations of Xcel Towers.
Aircel has over 21 million subscribers. It is currently in expansion mode and has recently launched services in a number of new circles. It needs to invest about $5-billion in next two years for its expansion plans.
A part of its expansion plans could be met by selling its tower business, said sources. It had recently raised a debt of about $3 billion.